The Unforseen Harbinger Of Lost Pathways

The Time Before

Once, long ago, there was a man by the name of Caraka Amunya. This man was born while the gods still served the Primordials, and he grew up in a very different world than most know today. At the rather young age of fifteen, he had the penchant for wandering, discovering what he could on the road. Thus, he caught the eye of the Maiden of Journeys, and was Chosen by the Saffron Lady to play a part in the downfall of the Primordials. He did his job well, and he and his fellow Chosen rejoiced when the Primordial War was finally over.

*insert FA stuff here*

However, all good things must come to an end. As the insanity of the ruling Solars became more and more apparent, the Seers of Creation gathered and cast the Great Prophecy. Caraka was among those who preferred the Prophecy of Gold; one of the highlights of the discussion was said to be an argument between Caraka and a Secrets by the name of Misa Ahetu about a particular phrase in the Prophecies. When it was decided that Prophecy of Bronze would be the one followed through, Caraka stormed out of the Loom.

He spent some time plotting in his quarters, then made his way to one of the Celestial gates to warn some of the saner Solars he had worked with previously. However, he never made it to the gate. He was ambushed by a trio of Sidereals close to his age, overwhelmed after they blocked his access to his Essence with a martial arts attack he had never seen before. As he laid dying on the golden streets of the Celestial City, he cursed his attackers' names.

The Dark Man Comes

Not too long after, Caraka found himself in Stygia. Although the pull from Lethe was strong, he remained; with death, the blinders of the Curse were removed from him and he saw that the insanity of the Solars had spread to the Seers as well. He watched the Usurpation from the Underworld; each death solidified his view that his former fellows, although meaning well, were wrong. In time, he was approached by an emissary of a being known as the Waiting Silence, who stated that his patron wished to have words with the elder Sidereal.

What was said between Caraka and the Neverborn is unknown. The man known as Caraka Amunya ceased to exist that day; instead, the Unforseen Harbinger of Lost Pathways emerged from the Labyrinth, flush with the power of Oblivion.

The Harbinger has been walking the face of Creation for millennia, and there are few places that do not have his imprint on the soil. He is known across Creation in the guise of Dezika the Pathfinder, a former resplendent destiny which he resurrected after his reemergence. Dezika is thought to be a son of Mercury herself, and tales of his travels in both Creation and the Underworld have been spread across Creation since before the Usurpation. Over the centuries, family members of the recently deceased have prayed to Dezika for safe passage of their souls into Lethe. A number of elder Sidereals recognized the reappearance the destiny, but any attempts to dissuade worship of the figure have met with little to no success.

The Harbinger's Domain

The Harbinger holds no large force, nor does he lay claim to any particular area of Creation. Although as skilled at necromancy and sorcery as his fellow deathlords, his knowledge of the geography and geomancy of Creation is unmatched. His personal library holds treatises on manse creation dating back to the High First Age, as well as the design plans for some of Creation's most famous manses (including, it is said by some, the Sword of Creation).

The Harbinger claims no massive citadel in either Creation or the Underworld like most of his brethren. Instead, he holds six manses spread out around Creation- one in each direction and one in Stygia. Each manse was created as a hostel of sorts for travelers both living and dead, hidden from the eyes of Heaven by the arcane fate wound into the structure of the manse. Each manse has a large mural in the wall of the main room, detailing almost every major and minor roadway in that direction. Travelers can request a map of a specific area; the price depends on the area in question, but usually involves an offering for the souls of those who have died on the road and a small favor to the lord of the house.

In each of these hostel-manses there is a door made of a local wood (or stone, as is the case in the Southern manse) with a twisting mandala of starmetal and soulsteel worked into most of the door. This door opens into a thin corridor, barely wide enough for a man to pass through. Down this hallway are a number of doors, each marked with a similar mandala, leading to rooms for the Harbinger's servants and honored guests. About halfway down the corridor, a line of soulsteel and starmetal marks a second threshold – once crossed, the traveler is now in the nexus of the manse network, located in Stygia. Using a form of travel similar to the Gates of Auspicious Passage, each of the five manses is connected to the others by this central manse, allowing for quick movement across Creation.

The nexus is a collection of five rooms surrounding a circular room. New arrivals walk into the room corresponding to the direction they came from; each is decorated with relics and funerary trappings from the cultures of that direction. The central room is the Harbinger's personal quarters; only those with the proper permission may open the doors from the directional rooms into the center room.

Manses of the Harbinger

The Harbinger's Panoply

The Harbinger's primary weapon is a soulsteel seven-section staff called Nikara's End, said to have been created from the ghosts of the three Sidereals who killed Caraka Amunya. The staff has the normal stats for a soulsteel seven-section and holds two hearthstone sockets. It's true power, though, is seen when the bearer strikes his target. If the bearer so chooses, he may forgo any damage done by the strike; instead, he attacks the target's personal dragon lines, increasing the difficulty for the target to spend Essence properly. For every strike done in this fashion, the target must add 2m to the cost of all Charms for the remainder of the scene.

He also has a sizable collections of artifacts that incorporate both starmetal and soulsteel, many he made himself. His deathknight servants have access to these weapons as needed.

The Harbinger's Combat Tactics

When combat is forced, the Harbinger uses his impressive knowledge of martial arts styles with nigh-unmatched skill. He still retains knowledge of nearly every style he knew when he was alive, which include the Hungry Ghost, Dark Messiah, Snake, Mantis, Violet Bier, Tiger and Celestial Monkey styles. He also retains knowledge of the Prismatic Arrangement of Creation and Obsidian Shards of Infinity styles in full, as well as Border of Kaleidoscopic Knowledge up to the form.

Servants of the Harbinger

The Harbinger only asks two things of his servants. Each of the Harbinger's servants spend some time acting as caretakers for the hostel-manses that are spread across Creation. While there, they keep in contact with the large spy network that the Harbinger has set up over the centuries, gathering whatever information is available. They also upkeep the large map mural in the manses, making corrections as needed. Each deathknight is also asked to set up small shrines to Dezika the Pathfinder in any town they go to that does not already have one, and to spread words of his tales. Barring that, he allows his servants to basically do as they will. The other deathlords often scoff at his apparent light-handed touch, but the Harbinger merely smiles.

Most of the Harbinger's Chosen were travelers in life, and they continue to spend time on the road after their Exaltation. Dusk Castes under the Harbinger occasionally take up the role of guardian, working with caravans in the Underworld and protecting them from harm. Midnights act as wandering priests and talesingers, spreading the tales of Dezika the Pathfinder as well as the worship of the ancestor cults. Daybreaks act in a number of roles, depending on their inclination: roadside mystics, gatherers of artifacts in far-flung villages and tombs, or artifacers in their own right. Day Castes fill whatever role is needed wherever they may be while on the road.

The Harbinger prizes Moonshadows above the other castes, for one simple reason. Moonshadows act as emissaries, as they often do for any other Deathlord. However, the Harbinger makes full use of their unique ability to learn the charms of other Exalts. All of his Moonshadows know a number of Sidereal charms, and one in particular - a Northern woman by the name of The Walker of Unmarked Crossroads - has begun to learn the Prismatic Arrangement of Creation Style.

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